• Dale Furutani

Tour Eiffel by Night



Most people go to the Eiffel Tower during the daytime. The lines are often long and the weather is changeable. They do this because you can get a spectacular view of Paris from the Tower. In fact, I think it’s the best panoramic view of the City of Light.


In fact, the Tower remains open until 10:30 PM (22:30) and they don’t start chasing people out until after that (usually they let people linger even longer after closing in the summer – often until midnight). The night view of the tower is also spectacular and it’s an experience that most visitors don’t seem to think about. Ideally, try to visit in the late afternoon so you can enjoy the day view and the night view for the price on one ticket!


If you do go there at night, I suggest using either a Seine tour boat (make sure it’s one that stops at the Tower!) or arriving on the Right Bank near the Trocadero. While fine during the day, I find the long walk across the Champ Des Mars from the bus station to be kind of dark and creepy. Besides, when you cross the Seine on the Pont de’lena bridge to get to the tower you’ll be presented with a line of street vendors selling all sorts of cheap toys and what must be the world’s largest gathering of model Eiffel Tower souvenirs. I always find this fascinating, for some reason.


There are millions of stories about the Tower. Most people know it was supposed to be torn down after 20 years (obviously it wasn’t) or that the Tower was “sold” TWICE by “Count” Victor Lustig in an audacious scam. My favorite story involves the French flag that flew from the Tower on the day France surrendered to the Germans in WWII. A workman took the flag that was flying that day and hid it in his apartment. Workers also sabotaged the elevator system so Hitler would have to climb 1665 steps if he wanted to visit the top. Too many years later, the workman heard that the Free French Army and the Americans were about to liberate Paris. He grabbed the flag and a friend and the two men raced to the tower. Taking a deep breath, thew two men climbed all 1665 steps so they could fly the flag so carefully preserved over a free Paris once again. When they reached the top, they were surprised to find several men sitting at the top, eating bread and wine, and watching the French flag that they hung flapping in the breeze. They were also surprised to hear they were beaten to the top because workman had repaired the elevators and they could have ridden to the top in comfort! I assume they expressed this surprise as soon as they caught their breath from climbing the stairs.


I don’t know if they swapped flags, but I’d like to think so.



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